2020 Winners

We had an incredibly high standard of entries for Travel Photographer of the Year 2020, and would like thank all our entrants and our fantastic judging panel, who gave so much of their time to select the winners.

STATEMENT FROM TPOTY FOUNDER, CHRIS COE: “Travel photography in a global pandemic, with numerous travel bans, has been challenging to say the least, but travel photographers are a resourceful breed, as the latest set of winning images is a testament to. These winners are spectacular in their beauty, range, drama, elegance and, in some cases, poignancy. In tough times they will bring a warmth and joy to many and confirm that there is skill, insight, vision and art in travel photography.”

Click on a photo to zoom in

TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2020 – Vladimir Alekseev, Russia

Winner’s biography

Vladimir Alekseev is a photographer, traveller, journalist, publisher, and chief editor of one of Russia’s mass media publications. Previous roles include manager of a large Russian advertising agency. He is also President of the National Fund for the Preservation of Spiritual, Cultural and Natural Resources, which implements socially significant projects through photographic art aimed at the preservation and revival of universal cultural values. He has organised more than 50 photo-research expeditions to various regions of the planet, including the Arctic, Antarctica, Amazon, Patagonia, and hard-to-reach regions of Russia. His photos and articles have been published since 2007 in publications such as National Geographic (Russia, Italy, Germany, France), Geo (Germany, France), Around the World, Continent Expedition, and many others.


YOUNG TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2020 – Indigo Larmour, Ireland (age 12)

Winner’s biography

This is the second year in a row that Indigo has been voted Young Travel Photographer of the Year. Irish by nationality, she was born in Abu Dhabi and has been travelling since she was three weeks old. She has lived in India for the past 2 ½ years and, pre-COVID, her family travelled a lot in India, including visiting her Grandmother’s birthplace in Assam, and to neighbouring countries including Nepal and Pakistan.  

Indigo started photography at the age of eight, when she borrowed a camera from her mother on a photo walk in old Dubai. She enjoyed seeing all the rich colours of the spice souk there, and the colours of India captivate her in the same way. She loves chatting to people in markets, where she frequently gets her cheeks pinched and then she often asks to take a photo in return!! She is truly inspired by people who use their photography for activism and to highlight global issues and would love to incorporate more of that into her photography in future.

YOUNG TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR: Winner, 15-18 yrsBen Skaar, USA (age 17)

Winner’s biography

Based in Massachusetts, USA, Ben Skaar has had a camera in his hand since the age of eight, with his passion for photography growing each year. The majority of his time is spent doing typical school work and sports, but he spends every free second he has chasing his creative dreams. Whether that be waking up at 4am for sunrise, spending countless winter nights shooting the stars, or editing his photos and videos from the car, he is doing all he can to set himself up for a future of creative freedom. One day he hopes to travel the world with his camera, capturing wildlife, culture, landscapes, and more. It’s been a dream ever since he first pressed a shutter!

YOUNG TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR: Runner-up, 15-18 yrsNayana Rajesh, USA (age 16)

YOUNG TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR: Winner, 14 yrs & underMiguel Sánchez García, Spain (age 11)

Winner’s biography

Miguel particularly enjoys taking photographs with this father who, he says, teaches him everything he needs. He likes to photograph nature, especially in the mountains and on trips, and he feels it is the best way to learn and get to know beautiful places. These pictures are multiple exposures in-camera, with the camera rotated between each exposure to create a kaleidoscopic effect.

YOUNG TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR: Runner-up, 14 yrs & underNeil Shet, USA (age 14)


PORTFOLIOS

WINNER: Landscapes & Earth Elements – Alessandro Carboni, Italy

Winner’s biography 

Alessandro Carboni was born in Sardinia, the land where he grew up and still lives. He took his first steps in the dark room in the 1990s, but began to focus his attention on landscape photography in 2009. He graduated in business administration, but always had an eye for the nature of his wild and fascinating island. He chooses to escape most urbanized areas in search of uncontaminated places and is convinced that the development of an idea through the realization of a project is the most powerful way to convey his vision and emotions. His most important project is Wild Sardinia, as part of a team of three international photographers that want to depict Sardinia in images, capturing the landscapes, the seasons and the lights of this special island.

RUNNER-UP: Landscapes & Earth Elements – Scott Portelli, Australia

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Landscapes & Earth Elements – Paddy Scott, UK

COMMENDED: Landscapes & Earth Elements – Sergey Pesterev, Russia

BEST SINGLE IMAGE IN A PORTFOLIO: Landscapes & Earth Elements – James Smart, Australia

SPECIAL MENTION: Landscapes & Earth Elements – (left to right) – Mohammad Rahman, Australia; David Swindler USA; Kevin De Vree, Belgium

SPECIAL MENTION: Landscapes & Earth Elements – (left to right) – Mauro Battistelli, Italy; Armand Sarlangue, France; Edward Hyde, UK


WINNER: Nature, Sealife, Wildlife – Marco Steiner, Austria

Winner’s biography 

Marco Steiner is an underwater photographer with a main focus on blackwater and macro photography. His current project is documenting the creatures that can be found in the Maldives at night during blackwater dives in the open ocean. He has been a long-time contributor to Manta Trust, Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme, was part of Sea Shepherd Operation Jairo in Costa Rica and has recently been a contributing photographer for the Elysium Epic Expedition documenting the coral triangle in Raja Ampat. Marco studied Digital Film in Berlin and has worked for several public TV stations in Germany as a camera assistant. Since 2011 he has also worked as a dive center manager and blackwater guide in the Maldives. He has always been interested in underwater photography since his childhood but only became more serious about taking photos in 2017.  

RUNNER-UP: Nature, Sealife, Wildlife – Wenming Tang, China

RUNNER UP: Nature, Sealife, Wildlife – Amit Eshel, Israel

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Nature, Sealife, Wildlife – Alexej Sachov, Germany

COMMENDED: Nature, Sealife, Wildlife – Marsel van Oosten, Netherlands

BEST SINGLE IMAGE IN A PORTFOLIO: Nature, Sealife, Wildlife – Pavlos Evangelidis, Greece

SPECIAL MENTION: Nature, Sealife, Wildlife – (left to right) – Marsel van Oosten, Netherlands; David Alpert, UK; Lawrence Worcester, USA

SPECIAL MENTION: Nature, Sealife, Wildlife – (left to right) – Alex Zozulya, Russia; David Gibbon, UK, Joshua Holko, Australia


WINNER: People of the World – Mouneb Taim, Syria

Winner’s biography 

2001, Mouneb Taim is a photojournalist covering news stories with a focus on social issues. He is currently working in Turkey as a freelance photographer. He began his career in photojournalism as a self-taught teenage photographer and independent reporter in 2014, where he covered life under siege in Douma, Eastern Ghouta, Idlib and the countryside of Aleppo until early 2020, and documented massacres and destruction caused by air strikes and bombing almost daily. During the ten years he lived under siege in his city, this young man won many international awards for his work. 

PHOTOGRAPHER STATEMENT

In war life has a different meaning – everything that is normal simply disappears. The daily routine is definitely not normal, even if it seems normal to the people who live in the respective places. Bombs fall, people die and buildings are destroyed every day. The reality of the war cannot be denied, and yet there are people who persistently try to face the bitterness of this terrible war: with their determination, their hope and their desire to live. This project shows the efforts of the civilian population to make the war in the occupied territory in the Syrian Eastern Ghouta forgotten after the place was besieged for more than five years by the armed forces of the Syrian government. The occupation ended when the Syrian regime, with the support of Russian forces, forcibly resettled people after months of bombing the area. Thousands were killed and the area was completely destroyed.

RUNNER-UP: People of the World – Jorge Bacelar, Portugal

HIGHLY COMMENDED: People of the World – Alain Schroeder, Belgium

COMMENDED: People of the World – Piper Mackay, USA

BEST SINGLE IMAGE IN A PORTFOLIO: People of the World – Eddy Verloes, Belgium

SPECIAL MENTION: People of the World – (left to right) – Jorgen Johanson, Norway; Hoai Nguyen Phuoc; Vietnam

SPECIAL MENTION People of the World – (left to right) – Yu Shen, China; Mouneb Taim, Syria


WINNER: Travel Folio – Jordi Cohen, Spain

Winner’s biography

Jordi Cohen is a freelance documentary photographer based in Barcelona, mainly focused on social and cultural issues. His work has been published in the New York Times, The Guardian, Sunday Telegraph, CNN Blog, Leica Magazine, La Vanguardia, El Periódico, Photo France, XL Semanal, Piel de Foto, Chasseur d’Images and FotoMagazin Germany among others. His work has been exhibited in Europe and America, including the San Diego Art Institute, CEH “Manege” St. Petersburg, Royal Geographical Society of London, Gallería Hector Garcia of Mexico City, International Festival of Social Photography in Sarcelles (France), Couvent des Minimes of Perpignan and the  Complejo el Águila Exhibition Hall of Madrid.

RUNNER-UP: Travel Folio – Richard Li, Hong Kong

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Travel Folio – Nicolas Raspiengeas, France

COMMENDED: Travel Folio – Alessio Mesiano, Italy

BEST SINGLE IMAGE IN A PORTFOLIO: Travel Folio – Paul Sansome, UK

SPECIAL MENTION: Travel Folio – (left to right) – Jordi Cohen, Spain; Jonathan Stokes, UK; Athanasios Maloukos, Greece

SPECIAL MENTION: Travel Folio – (both images) – Phan Khanh, Vietnam


ONE SHOT – SINGLE IMAGE CATEGORIES

WINNER: Close to Home – Pier Luigi Dodi, Italy

Winner’s biography

Pier Luigi Dodi was born in 1969 between the flatland and the hills of Emilia region in Northern Italy. He has a PhD in Veterinary Science from University of Turin and a Master’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology from Alma Mater Studiorum – University of Bologna. He have started taking photos with a very old manual Praktica when he was a teenager. He is passionate about  photography and believes it is the best way to remember things that will never be the same as they were in that exact moment.  

Close to Home – (left to right) – RUNNER-UP: Mattia Corato, Italy; HIGHLY COMMENDED: Johnny Haglund, Norway; COMMENDED: Mohd Nazri Sulaiman, Malaysia


WINNER: Colours of Life – Peter Walmsley, UK

Winner’s biography

Peter Walmsley first became interested in photography through his chemistry teacher who ran an after-school club. He struggled with film for many years until a whole new world of image creation opened up, with the arrival of digital cameras. He joined a local camera club where the combination of supportive learning and regular competitions helped him to improve and gain various photographic qualifications. He subsequently became a judge in the Southern Counties Photographic Federation.

Peter earns his living as a civil servant, helping to deliver aid projects to developing countries. This aligns with a significant interest in foreign travel, particularly to east and south east Asia, which led in turn to an interest in street photography as a means to capture local culture as seen through daily life.

Colours of Life – RUNNER-UP: Jinzi Song, China (left), HIGHLY COMMENDED: Yasser Alaa Mobarak, Egypt (right)

Colours of Life – COMMENDED: Enrico Pescantini, Italy (left), Sanghamitra Sarkar, India (right)


WINNER: Islands – David Newton, UK

Winner’s biography 

David Newton is a professional photographer and filmmaker based in the UK, who specialises in being a generalist photographer! He is a Global Ambassador for SanDisk, Manfrotto, Lastolite, LitePanels, H&Y, Eizo and Koy Lab. He has been shooting for more than 20 years all around the world for a wide range of clients and is also an international photo tutor, presenting workshops globally.

Islands – RUNNER-UP: Dana Allen, USA (left), HIGHLY COMMENDED: Luigi Ruoppolo, Italy (right)

Islands – COMMENDED: Nguyen Tan Tuan, Vietnam (left), Jill Jennings, UK (right)